School Days In Goblesville, Michigan

When it was time to return to school in days of old, children were less than anxious for summer to end! Even though they worked hard in the fields, school was sometimes more brutal and exhausting than any harvest activity. In an interview with Caroline M. (Grove) Goble, wife of Peter Roy (7) Goble, Jr. in about 1900 in Goblesville, Michigan, she describes her school days.

"The schoolhouse at Goblesville was built of round logs. The space between the logs was filled up with timber and mud. The floor was built from the rough lumber sawed at the water power, upright mill built on the Clear Creek, a mile south of Goblesville. The roof was made of clapboards split by hand and held in place by laying poles on each layer of boards. The teachers were about as rough as the house. A bundle of willow whips was brought in by the teacher to keep order with on the first day of school. Sometimes they would become too dry and would break when used.

Mrs. Goble recalls one incident. The teacher was behind the pupil and one boy took his eyes off his book looking back toward the teacher smiling. The teacher, with rod in hand, struck from the rear with all his might, hitting the innocent pupil by the side of the offender. A portion of the whip penetrated the palm of his hand and went entirely through and protruded on the opposite side of the hand nearly an inch.

Another incident, bashful little girl of about eight years asked the teacher for permission to come near the stove to warm her feet. On being flatly refused, she remained in her place. It was below zero weather, and there was a knot hole under her seat. She froze her feet so badly that she never fully recovered to this day.

Schoolteachers of those days were called schoolmasters. They were masters indeed! School was held from two to three months in the year. The teacher was paid a subscription. Each parent paid his share per capita for the children sent to school. School children of today might thank their stars that they were not born fifty or sixty years ago." (About 150 or 160 years ago!)

Peter Roy (7), Peter Roy (6), Matthias (5), Robert (4), Daniel/David (3), Daniel (2), Thomas (1), William (0)

Sources: The Huntington Herald Newspaper: Levern & Rachel Goble.

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This page last updated on December 7, 1998
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